Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Origen and the History of Justification

 Here is  quick snippet of Origen's idea of Justification according to Thomas Scheck in his book, Origen and the History of Justification, page 46. It is something I should have concentrated on in my essay:

Origen illustrates the three stages toward justification from Ps 32.1—2:
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord does not impute iniquity." First,
he says, the soul leaves its evil and obtains pardon. Next by good deeds
it covers its sins. "But when a soul forthwith reaches perfection, so that
every root of evil is completely cut off from it to the point that no trace of
evil can be found in it, at that point the summit of blessedness is promised
to the one to whom the Lord is able to impute no sin.""’

Verfaillie comments on Origen's text: “Origen speaks as a moralist here, but his
psychology leads to a theology.”‘ Origen sees Rom 4.7-8 as describing
the soul's conversion in a three-stage progression: remission, covering,
and nonimputation of sins. The soul first detaches itself from evil; then it
puts the good positively into practice; and finally it arrives at the “summit
of blessedness.” At the first stage the soul receives the remission of sins
when one can scarcely imagine that sins continue to subsist. In the second
stage, the soul covers them, that is to say, the evils disappear under the
abundance of good works. Finally, when no vestige of sin remains, and
God finds no ground for reproaching the soul, it has reached perfection.
As we shall see below, at 4.6 Origen will apply the terms faith, hope, and
love to these three stages of conversion. The overall stress here is on justification
as a process, subsequent to the grace

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